Features » Friday Review

Updated: February 20, 2014 19:55 IST

Pieces from the past

Pushpa Chari
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A few pieces on display. Photo: V. Ganesan
A few pieces on display. Photo: V. Ganesan

The re-creations of Colonial Raj furniture at CCIE are a remainder of a glorious era.

Furniture perhaps comes next only to the proverbial walls in ‘talking and recreating the mystique of forgotten eras.’ The Central Cottage Industries Emporium's Colonial Furniture exhibition recreates the romance of the British Raj with some of its reproduction pieces.

The collection is an amalgam of Edwardian and Victorian styles, including planter chairs, love seats, armoires, verandah chairs and sideboards.

Typical Raj sideboard-cum-display cabinets with slightly carved frontage, corner display cases featuring decorative tiles and three piece sofa sets with ethnic features, recreate a colonial ambience. Specially made tiles with floral motifs also embellish a series of marble topped consoles, circular side tables and occasional tables with 'claw' legs which were a distinct feature of Raj furniture. Teakwood replaces the original rosewood in the items. Planter chairs with their easy, slatted charm, and diwans featuring a distinct ‘Indian’ look are also on view.

Intricate inlay work

The grandeur of the times is captured in a magnificent hand-crafted rosewood six-seater dining table set from Mysore. The table top has intricate inlay work featuring the flora and fauna of the region, royal processions, etc. This was a great colonial favourite, and the inlay work was originally done in marble.

Was it a challenge for Devi Lal and Ashok to recreate the furniture in teakwood? “Not really”, say the artisans from Delhi. “The designers gave us the drawings, graphs and photographs and we got busy with the cutting, chipping and joining. Our ancestors have done this for generations.”

Colonial Furniture is on display at the Cottage Industries Emporium, Temple Towers, 672, Anna Salai, Nandanam, till February 29.

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